(ag) wrote: I Don't Want to Know How the True Story Ended, Do I? A lot of people seem to want to blame situations like this one on some external force. It's always some video game or whatever that the parents are involved in. Or, I suppose, you could blame it on the new boyfriend. Except if the new boyfriend knew what the mother (You) was doing, he almost certainly would have been just as horrified as anyone else. No, it was something within Keiko that led her to make the choices she did, and she would have made the choice sooner or later even if there had been no man involved. She accuses someone else of being selfish elsewhere in the movie, and for exactly the same behaviour she exhibits herself. No one else in the world matters as much as she does, and if want she wants is to be free of her children, that certainly matters much more than what happens to those children. The burden of children just got to be unimportant to her, so she chose not to take it. Keiko moves into a new apartment with her son, Akira (Yya Yagira). They do everything properly, even bringing a small gift to the landlord (Kazuyoshi Kushida) and his wife (Yukiko Okamoto). The landlord tells them that Akira, at twelve, is okay, but the other tenants wouldn't like younger children. The movers bring in their belongings, including two particularly heavy suitcases. One has Shigeru (Hiei Kimura), and one has Yuki (Momoko Shimizu). And then Akira goes to the station to meet Kyoko (Ayu Kitaura). There are now four children in the apartment, with Akira the oldest. The children don't go to school; only Akira is allowed to leave the apartment at all. Then Keiko leaves for a month with no word. Akira takes care of the others. Kyoko confronts her mother bitterly when Keiko returns, and then, her mother leaves again. And this time, she does not come back. Akira holds the household together for as long as possible, but she doesn't even send money most of the time. This is a slow, quiet, powerful movie. Akira, at twelve, might be expected to take care of himself, at least somewhat, but he is a better parent for his siblings even when Keiko is there. She goes off without them, not telling her boyfriends about them. Akira gets some money from a man who works in a pachinko parlor (Ken'ichi End) and who swears that he is not Yuki's father but who likes the children anyway. They meet up with Saki (Hanae Kan), a high school girl who avoids going to school, and she makes some money going to sing karaoke with a sleazy businessman. At first, Akira is repulsed and won't take it, but eventually, he is too desperate. The utilities get shut off, and it's surprising they don't get evicted. They don't have enough food. And if even just Akira had gone to school, someone would have reported the situation. And it's Akira's greatest fear, because he's certain that the four would be split up if that happened. This is not a [i]Lord of the Flies[/i] kind of situation. These children don't much dissolve into anarchy. They don't clean well enough, but they also spend their food money more sensibly than a lot of other children would. This is in no small part because Akira did most of the shopping and cooking even when Keiko was around. At twelve, he was already more mature than she was. His fear of being split up overpowers the other, more rational fears he has. He worries about food, scrimping and pinching and scrounging money from both Pachinko Guy and a cab driver (Yichi Kimura) who is another possible father of Yuki's. He and Kyoko have a fight over selling their mother's clothes, but it's the only way they can survive. He is accused of stealing from the local convenience store, but he never resorts to that. After all, thieves get caught, and he has no interest in having the police get called in. That would definitely split up the family, and that's not going to happen. Unfortunately, I know the outcomes of several stories of mothers who put themselves above their children. It isn't always tragic, but it isn't ever entirely happy, come to that. At very least, the child has to know that something or someone else mattered more. It might be [i]World of Warcraft[/i], the most popular new scapegoat, but one of the stories I know along these lines happened before most people even had personal computers. In that case, the woman shot her kids because her married boyfriend didn't like complications in life. He had dumped her, and she decided it was the kids and not the adultery which was the cause. So, naturally, she shot her kids. Because a woman with murdered kids was much less complicated than just staying with your wife. We don't know that Keiko is quite as crazy as all that. The impression I get is that she was able to just pretend that her children didn't really exist. But to a woman like Keiko, nothing really exists if it's inconvenient to her. That happens independent of boyfriends.